Microsoft’s Skype Translator takes inspiration from Star Wars’ C-3PO

In a recent interview, Microsoft’s group engineer Fil Alleva opened up about Skype Translator’s connection to the popular Star Wars characters, C-3P0 as well the long path it took them to grasp universal translation. While many may argue that Star Trek explored universal translation in a much more thought-out implementation, Alleva admits that it was C-3PO’s ability to understand and speak (presumably) millions of languages that he held in the back of his mind as the inspiration. What we all had in the back of our minds, whether we say it or not, was C-3PO. Like the upcoming seventh Star Wars film, the Skype Translator team is leaning heavily on 30 plus years of ground work. Microsoft’s specific involvements can be traced back to the company’s executive vice president of technology and research Xuedong Huang’s early speech…


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